Kenya thinks South African business managers are imposing and controlling; Nigerians respect their insistence on corporate governance. How other African countries perceive South Africa affects trade; building better relationships will boost business. Next stop on the South Africa Incorporated research bus is Accra.
Moody's recently downgraded its rating of South Africa's economy, but that should not prevent the country from planning for the long term. The idea of long-term goals rather than a short economic cycle had currency at a debate on building an inclusive economy, where the example of Germany's reunification was also flown.
On 15 and 16 November South Africa will join 19 other major developed and emerging economies for the annual Group of 20, or G20, summit to discuss ways to boost global growth. The summit will include perspectives from the international business leaders who make up the Business 20, or B20.
Collective ambition, equality, pride, emotional connection, performance, competitiveness – these are all attributes that must be plumbed in building a nation brand, say the experts. South Africa must find what makes it exciting to others and build on this, adding a big dose of confidence.